WKU is known for ghosts and those who hunt them. The Folklife Archives houses many collected stories and legends about ghosts and other kinds of monsters, start with Supernatural Experiences.
WKU Libraries has many books related to the supernatural as well.
Ghosts have been known to appear in the Kentucky Library collections.
WKU Archives contains images and writings of John Carpenter, a local boy whose name has become synonymous with Halloween.
View a Kentucky Museum Pecha Kucha talk about the origins of Halloween.
Resources rounded up by WKU Archives Assistant April McCauley.
Phi Delta Theta Halloween Party
A quick search of KenCat for Halloween revealed several entries for photographs including this one of Jerry Wolf dressed as Zorro and Justin Mylor dressed as Forrest Gump at a Phi Delta Theta party. There are also images from a West Hall celebration in 1945 and president Thomas Meredith celebrating in the 1990’s.
Henry Cherry put a clipping and the program for the Training School’s 1915 Hallowe’en Carnival in one of his scrapbooks. The three part program, Oct. 28th was open to the public for a 5 cent admission fee. The first hour was held in Vanmeter Hall where Grades 1 & 2 entertained with Rhythm & Games, Grade 3 performed folk dances, Grade 4 presented characters from story-book land and the seventh graders presented “Moving Pictures.”
Part 2 consisted of an “intermission” and guests were “given an opportunity to patronize the refreshment stands in Cabell Hall and the Fort.” The sixth graders had an autumn booth in the old fort and a Japanese Tea in Cabell Hall. Grade 5 provided a county booth and the first graders sold candy in Cabell Hall.
The carnival reconvened in the Training School Chapel at 8:15 where the 8th grade performed a circus. There was also a fish pond where fish were sold for a nickel a piece.
Do you remember a special Halloween on the Hill? Share your memories with us.
1908 postcard to Ruth Hines Temple; 1926 party invitation to Hansford Hale
In 1908, nine-year-old Warren County native Ruth Hines Temple received a colorful Halloween postcard from her aunt. More than a decade later, she still observed the scary season as a student at Randolph-Macon College. There, she wrote her mother in 1921, seniors paraded solemnly in cap and gown carrying jack-o-lanterns made for them by the sophomores. The next year, students paid 15 cents to gain admission to a full-fledged Halloween carnival in the gym, complete with side shows, music and food.
In the 1940s, before she moved to Bowling Green, Regina Newell experienced Halloween as a child in Coaldale, Pennsylvania. She recalled knocking on doors in costume, prepared to deliver a little song, dance or recitation if she was asked, and of the older folks trying hard to guess the identity of each masked trick-or-treater. Her school parties featured apple-bobbing and candy corn (“witches teeth”). When Regina was eight, her family moved to California, where Halloween customs were somewhat different: trick-or-treaters got grapes instead of apples and wore makeup instead of masks, even though performing for their candy was no longer expected.
The stories of Ruth Hines Temple, Regina Newell and others are part of the collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library. Click on the names to download collection finding aids. In addition, our folklife collections include lots of projects about ghosts, haunts, superstitions and the paranormal; or, you can read about ghostly happenings right here in Bowling Green and on the Hill. For further information, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.